Chinese Checkers

Mario Bellatin, Cooper Renner (Translator)
Three modern, edgy and superb stories by famous Mexican author Mario Bellatin--Chinese Checkers, Hero Dogs and My Skin Luminous--translated by Cooper Renner. This, his first book to appear in English, promises us an fascinating, unsettling and important new voice in modern writing. In these stories the narrator speaks rationally, cleanly, carefully, with a sense of precision and progression. But the life he describes is not rational, clean precise or progressive. His focus seems to be on exploring the ins and outs of specific situations. He is not plot-driven, nor do his characterizations seem to function in the normal way -- that is, to create a sympathetic character whom the author leads through some sort of growth process to a sort of epiphany. Any given one of his sentences, isolated from its context, might seem like an ordinary narrative sentence in a traditional work. Bellatin's contexts don't work that way: situations and thought repeat and recur in an apparently random fashion; he refuses to orchestrate climaxes and artificial excitements, even where a conventional writer would immediately do so.


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